U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy said yesterday that The Providence Journal Co. and Texas-based A. H. Belo Corp. have launched an "organized assault" against the Guild, but they fail to realize that anti-union tactics won't work in Rhode Island.
said he found the corporate leaders "dismissive" of the union's
position when he talked to both Belo chairman Robert W. Decherd and Journal
publisher Howard G. Sutton earlier in the year.
have to communicate that this is Rhode Island - that you don't do this
in Rhode Island," Kennedy said of the Belo and Journal tactics
District congressman spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the fall meeting
of the Guild's membership in the union's offices at 270 Westminster St.
in downtown Providence.
to the Guild's ability to successfully conclude negotiations will be to
show management that it has to contend not only with the 500-member Guild,
but the state's labor movement and political establishment, the congressman
the meeting, Kennedy said he was aware of the Guild's plan to call for
a circulation boycott, beginning the drive by working with the 80,000-member
In his six years in Congress, the son of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy said that he has learned a lot about labor-management relations, and that he believes that the company is attempting a "classic" ploy in the current negotiations.
non-union members benefits not being offered the Guild, management hopes
to "set-up" the Guild, then undermine other unions and employees
later down the road, Kennedy said.
said he first talked with Decherd, the Belo chief.
contended that the company hadn't had problems negotiating with other
unions, and that the company had made "good proposals" to the
Guild, which turned them down, Kennedy said.
said that the company's approach to negotiations appear to him to be carefully
too deliberate for them to say it's accidental, or a misunderstanding,"
he said. "This clearly is an organized assault on your union,"
Kennedy said. What management doesn't understand is that "the rest
of The Journal is on your side and there is broader labor movement support
and political support beyond that."
said he stood ready to help the Guild in any way he could, including having
further conversations with Decherd.
end of the meeting, Tim Schick, Guild administrator, noted that unions
often have to approach politicians when they need help, but in Kennedy's
case, he came to the Guild to ask what he could do on the union's behalf.
Schick then presented Kennedy with a black-and-green "We are the union" T-shirt. Kennedy grinned and obligingly accepted, even though he joked that that he has a "drawer-full" of such garments.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495